I can't believe September is over. To say that the month was a whirlwind is an understatement. Everyone told me that the first month of missionary life would be the craziest. While I never doubted that they were right, I never could have imagined how crazy it would be. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" has been stuck in my head for the past week, and while reflecting on this month, I realized that at times I thought September was actually not going to end and that I would be stuck in this newness and beginning all year. That thought was a little terrifying to me.
To tell the truth, I am ready to not be "new" anymore. Being patient in this time of transition has been the most difficult part about the last month. I am ready to be familiar with my surroundings. I am ready to remember everyone's name that I meet. I am ready to feel like I know what I'm doing and that I'm doing the best that I can with my job. I am more than ready for my body to adjust to waking up early for morning prayer, and I'm ready to stop messing up when I play guitar during said mornings. I'm ready to be comfortable with where I am and what I'm doing.
Ah, comfort. The heart of this struggle. A longing for comfort and familiarity and the feeling that I am in control, because I know what's going on and I know what the Lord wants me to do. Suddenly, it's less about the Lord and what He is going to do and it's all about me. How did I even get here?
I've found that it's easy for me to become discouraged when I forget to rely on the Lord and I begin to rely on myself to make things happen. When I forget to rely on the Lord for my comfort and I seek comfort in myself or my surroundings, I begin to fail at the task I have been called to. Being a disciple of Christ has never been about comfort. It's never been about what I think or how I feel about what's going on. Because, really, I can't make anything happen. And it's not in my job description or in my power to do so. My job is to create environments that provide space for the Holy Spirit to work, and to make myself available to whatever the Lord wants to do through me. It's not even in my job description to necessarily know what the Lord is doing, but to simply be faithful to the calling that the Lord has placed on my life to serve him.
"The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort: you were made for greatness." This is one of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's most popular quotes, and it has been a constant go-to for me in the past couple of months when I need to be re-convicted of my mission. Thanks be to God we are called to something greater than the fleeting comfort that the world offers. When I think about my life and all of the gifts that the Lord has given me and the ways He has provided for me up here in Minnesota, I am filled with so much gratitude to be spending my life on mission for His kingdom. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing. This gratitude and faith in the Lord's promise make it easy to choose greatness over comfort. The Holy Spirit enables me to choose this greatness daily.
Now, I'm starting to figure out how to get around Minneapolis. The U of M campus is still huge to me, but I can at least make the walk to Gopher Catholic Nights on my own. The Lord is helping me establish strong relationships here, and I absolutely love all of the students that He has placed in my life. I'm just fine with this growing familiarity; and I'm choosing to be okay with the lingering discomfort. After all, the Church does not need me to be comfortable. The Church needs me to choose to be great. In the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, everything is grace. Thank you, Lord, for the grace to embrace the greatness and reject the comfort. May I and my fellow missionaries, with intercession from St. Therese, continue to choose this way of greatness and grace each day! And so the wonderful adventure continues...
To Jesus Through Mary,
Note: My next post will include more about what we've been doing on campus and pictures from our first two months of mission here at the U. Stay tuned!
My name is Rebecca. This blog is a documentation of my life as a missionary with Saint Paul's Outreach - in Minnesota, Florida, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for stopping by!